03/03/2009 12:00AM

Hallway frequently in top three

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NEW ORLEANS - Hallway has been a poster child for Louisiana-breds, having earned more than $250,000 in his 24 races, despite winning only three - two allowances and a maiden special weight.

As a result he remains eligible for Thursday's $50,000 feature race at the Fair Grounds, an optional $30,000 claimer for Louisiana-breds also open to nonwinners of four. Carded as the ninth race, it will be contested at a mile on turf.

Though he seldom wins, Hallway has consistently earned checks, finishing in the money 16 times.

"The Louisiana program definitely suits a horse like him - he's versatile, and he's made money sprinting, routing, and on and off the turf," said trainer Steve Asmussen. "He's never been brilliant, but he has always been solid."

Hallway will be returning only 13 days after one of his signature performances, running second in an allowance race on the Fair Grounds turf on Feb.o20. Hallway made an unsuccessful run at the dominating Costa Rising, who was returning from a long layoff.

"He ran a very good race, and I only wish this race wasn't right back," said Asmussen. "This race is too quick back, but it was too much money for me to pass up."

Hallway has run well off short rest twice, finishing third last March in the Cocodrie Stakes at Delta Downs while wheeling back nine days after winning an allowance, and finishing third in the Louisiana Juvenile 14 days after running second in a first-level allowance.

Nowandforevermore finished just a half-length behind Hallway last time out in an even effort after bobbling at the break. He is entered for the $30,000 claiming price and hasn't won in more than a year.

It will be Nowandforevermore's third race in less than four weeks. Previously, he finished second in an optional claiming race here on Feb. 8.

The winner of that race, Brendyn Jo, also returns here, having just run his best race of the meet.

"He's been a little unlucky at the meet," said trainer Bret Calhoun. "In his last race we finally got him in a race where he can compete, and he stepped up."

Brendyn Jo has won 3 of 5 over the distance and surface.